Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative™

Helping employers respond to mental health, substance-use, and addiction challenges in the American workforce.


The Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative works with partners and employers to help address major mental health challenges facing workforces and communities including depression, suicide, and substance use disorders.

The Center for Health, Work & Environment and the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention are collaborating to address the national mental health crisis and substance use epidemic intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to educate, train, and provide resources to help managers and individuals implement evidence-based workplace practices and support for employees in treatment and recovery.


The Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) Initiative acknowledges the critical role employers hold in elevating the importance of mental health in the workplace and is dedicated to equipping them to address it.

Colorado's RFW Pledge

The Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace (RFW) Initiative acknowledges the critical role employers hold in elevating the importance of mental health in the workplace. The objective of the initiative is to recruit business leaders across the state to collaboratively identify and implement RFW principles across all industries in order to improve workplace well-being and performance.


The Colorado RFW Pledge, for C-suite executives and other business leaders across all sectors, is an acknowledgment that an organization prioritizes mental health, addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery support for all employees.


What happens after I pledge? 

You join a community of advocates committed to improving mental well-being in the workplace and across Colorado. We will coordinate with you to review what your organization is currently doing to support employees and work with you to implement strategies from Colorado’s RFW Toolkit. These resources will empower your organization to make changes that benefit and support your employees, strengthening your workforce.


Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace Pledge

Addiction and mental health crises are problems our organization is committed to help solve. By signing below, I pledge that my organization will do what it can to take action.


  1. Our organization pledges to create a workplace where it is safe to have uncomfortable and often difficult conversations about addiction and mental health.
  2. Our organization pledges to educate employees about the dangers of substance misuse and dispel the myths and stigma surrounding addiction and mental health.
  3. Our organization pledges to support employees and family members' access to high-quality prevention, treatment, and/or recovery services.
  4. We pledge to create a healthy, safe, and stigma-free work environment by participating in Colorado’s RFW Initiative.

By signing this pledge, I agree to receive email communications on behalf of Colorado’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.

I consent to have my name and organization published under a list of individuals/organizations that have signed the Pledge.

The Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative is a collaborative project of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, which is part of the University of Colorado Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, and the Center for Health, Work, and Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Thank you to Leidos and the Milken Institute for their leadership on this topic and inspiration for this form.

Colorado RFW Employer Group

To continue the work of our successful peer learning series, in partnership with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, we are launching the RFW Employer Workgroup.

This group will represent Colorado employers who are champions for RFW policies and practices and be the voice of local employers on statewide RFW issues. If you are interested in signing up for the RFW Workgroup or want to learn more information, sign up below.

We know that employers acknowledge the importance of recovery friendly workplaces. This initiative provides opportunities for Colorado business champions to step up and act collectively.
— Lili Tenney, DrPH, MPH, assistant professor at the ColoradoSPH, associate director for outreach and programs at CHWE and project lead


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Colorado Passes New Legislation to Support Recovery Friendly Workplaces

Governor Polis signs legislation that will invest in Colorado School of Public Health, CHWE, and CU Anschutz efforts to support individuals in recovery from substance use disorders

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Business leaders in Routt County take the first step in supporting workers in recoveryOpens in a new window

Sometimes the first step in becoming a recovery friendly workplace is the hardest one. Business owners often do not know where to start. On October 6, in Routt County, Colorado, six local businesses took that first step.

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Valley employers join Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative

The program helps employers respond to mental health, substance use, and addiction challenges in the workforce.

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Group of people from CHWE in a meeting

How Can Employers Help When Workers Struggle With Substance Use?Opens in a new window

Centers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus are partnering with state leaders and employers to help employees in recovery through the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.

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The Recovery Friendly Workplace: A Total Worker Health® Approach

August 21, 2023


This Health Links webinar featured an important discussion with local and national experts on RFW policies and practices that create positive change for individuals affected by addiction.

Employer module

Man sitting at a computer

Workplace Mental Health Module

The Health Links® Workplace Mental Health Module is designed to help organizations assess their current strategy and how to improve policies and practices that support a positive workplace culture. The module includes a survey, toolkit, customized recommendations, and advising sessions aimed at using evidence-based practices to improve employee mental health.


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The Colorado Recovery Friendly Workplace Toolkit

This toolkit provides a comprehensive document that identifies the steps employers can take to enhance organizational effectiveness and become a workplace that supports all employees, especially those in recovery from addiction. Strategies that Recovery Friendly Workplaces across the nation, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have carefully implemented, rigorously evaluated, and deemed effective are the central foundation for developing this Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative.

Peer learning series

We hosted a four-part virtual workshop for Colorado executive management, leadership, HR directors, and influencers/decision-makers with a mixed format of case studies and peer discussion. View presentations and resources from the peer learning series.


Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center logo
Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention logo
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Center for Health, Work & Environment

Colorado School of Public Health

CU Anschutz

Fitzsimons Building

13001 East 17th Place

Suite W3111

Mail Stop B119

Aurora, CO 80045

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